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NYSDOH awards grant to ECMC to eliminate hepatitis C

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Thu, Feb 11th 2021 01:20 pm

$1.5 million in state funding granted to improve access to hep C care & treatment; second consecutive 5-year funding to ECMC from NYSDOH for successful program

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) AIDS Institute has again awarded a $1.5 million Eliminating Hepatitis C by Improving Access to Care and Treatment grant to Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corp.’s Center for Hepatology Care. The center was previously funded by the same state source from 2015-20.

As a result of the grant award, $300,000 per year will be awarded to the center over a five-year period from June 1, 2021, through May 31, 2026. Selection was based on the competitive review and evaluation of ECMC’s response to the grant request issued by NYSDOH in September 2019 for the Western New York Region.

Anthony Martinez, M.D., medical director of hepatology at ECMC, said “We are very thankful to the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute for again recognizing the vital services provided through ECMC’s Center for Hepatology Care; their continued support is further confirmation of the positive outcomes we have achieved for our patients. This critically important funding will enable our clinical team to improve access to care and treatment of hepatitis C patients throughout our region.”

The Center for Hepatology Care, established in 2012, is a key location for hepatitis c virus (HCV) management in Western New York, treating over 2,000 patients since its inception. A press release said it is now a well-established, sustainable program for primary care, comprehensive liver disease and substance use management. Martinez, fellowship-trained in addiction medicine, specializes in the co-management of substance use and hepatic disorders.

The center’s multidisciplinary model includes medical providers; nursing/nurse educators; case management; and access to drug and mental health counselors, dieticians, and pharmacists. Any patient without a primary care provider is linked with one of the two providers who split their time between the hepatology center and the internal medicine primary care center. The site has established relationships with several community organizations, including more than 10 substance and alcohol use treatment facilities, behavioral health counseling centers, regional holding centers/jails, and county departments of health. The Center for Hepatology Care works in conjunction with each of these organizations as collaborators. Center caseworkers regularly visit the partner sites to provide HCV education and link new patients to care.

ECMC’s Center for Hepatology Care was awarded the World AIDS Day Commissioner’s Special Recognition Award from NYSDOH in 2018 for its diligent efforts toward HCV elimination in the state. Martinez is regularly invited nationally and internationally to speak on the hybrid model adopted by the center and teach other medical providers his proven treatment strategies.

For additional information about hepatitis C, visit the New York State Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/hepatitis/hepatitis_c/. For more information about ECMC hepatitis C treatment, visit https://www.ecmc.edu/health-services-and-doctors/outpatient-specialty-clinics/hepatology-clinic/ or call 716-898-6410.

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